Friday, September 11, 2009

Dating is Not Stalking

It's Friday, so as promised, I'll start a series on Unacceptable Dating Behaviors.

First up: Dating is Not Stalking.

Yes, you are curious if she’s been on cruising for other guys since you started emailing her. Yes, you want to know if she’s changed her profile since your first date and now she says she wants a kind of man that excludes the likes of you. And, yes, knowing her last name, you want to google her and see what comes up.

And I have to say, grudgingly, that googling her is okay.

But don’t check up on her online activity on a dating site. Don’t keep googling her with ever more complicated Boolean logic to find anything you can on her. Google her once. Check your local online jail inmate lookup once (the one in King County, Washington will tell you if a person has been in jail in the last year). And call it good.

At least for the first six months of a relationship, do not show up at her house unless you have been invited over. And don’t ever drive by her house or place of work to see if she’s there without intending to make your presence known. This might have been a fun activity when you were in high school (maybe college) and you were with your best friend goofing off on a Thursday night, but it isn’t funny now. Having a woman slap you with a restraining order when you were just getting to like her is not in your best interest.

Also you do not need to know everything she’s done since you last saw her. So quit prying if you get a vague reply or what you believe is a redacted answer. This applies even if said woman has become your wife. It’s creepy, controlling and most people don’t like to have to admit to all the boring stuff they spend their time doing. Or the embarrassing stuff. Even if she is your girlfriend, fiancĂ©e or wife, you do not need to know that her appointment every Friday afternoon is to get electrolysis. And you do not need to know that she spends half an hour every day filing and re-filing her junk mail and bills. We all have weird behaviors we’d rather not discuss.

It is not okay to:

See whose phone numbers she has programmed into her cell phone.

Ask her who called when her phone rings when you are together. If she wants you to know, she’ll tell you.

Read her email or check to whom she has been writing. Even if she left her account open on her computer when you were alone in the room.

Look through her mail. Even if it was left lying on the coffee table and you are waiting for her to get her coat.

It is okay to:

Read her blog. It’s public. It’s meant to be read by the people she knows.

Listen to what she is saying on the phone if she’s sitting right next to you while she’s talking. She probably wants you to listen if she stayed in the room to answer her phone.

Google her name. Once.

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